June 21, 2016
Alannah Hurley - United Tribes of Bristol Bay (907) 843-1633 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nelli Williams - Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program Director (907) 230-7121 or email@example.com
Melanie Brown - Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay (907) 469-0474 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Alaskans deeply disappointed at latest pointless congressional hearing on Pebble Mine
The House Committee on Natural Resources schedules hearing on Pebble Mine as salmon season in Bristol Bay kicks off the busiest time of year for residents, fishermen, and businesses.
DILLINGHAM, AK – Tomorrow, Wednesday June 22nd, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing at 10:00 am EST examining the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) role in permitting projects where the proposed Pebble Mine will be discussed. Local residents, tribal leaders, commercial fishermen, and sportsmen are frustrated that a hearing that addresses such a big concern to the region would be held during the height of Bristol Bay’s busy salmon season.
“Pebble is a not supported by Alaskans and shouldn’t be given a stage by lawmakers in D.C. – especially behind our backs and during our busiest time of year,” said Melanie Brown, a third generation commercial fisherwoman based in Naknek. “This hearing is a sneak attack, bait and switch that shows how out of touch the Committee members are with Alaska. Pebble is a direct threat to my way of life and business, yet our lawmakers continue to grant favors to a mining company based in another country. We are working non-stop this time of year to make sure our boats and nets are ready to catch fish that feed not only our families and support our businesses, while a foreign mining company gets another pointless hearing. Something is wrong with this picture."
Pebble’s expensive campaign seeks to undermine the protections proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency that were requested by Bristol Bay tribes and widely supported by Alaskans. Over 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents, 60 percent of Alaskans, and over 1.5 million Americans spanning the political spectrum oppose the Pebble proposal and support protections for Bristol Bay. The project threatens the cultures and way of life of Bristol Bay tribes and tens of thousands of fish-based jobs and the $1.5 billion sustainable fishing economy. Yet, the Canadian-owned Pebble Limited Partnership continues to pursue the dangerous project.
“Holding this hearing now is incredibly disrespectful. This is the time of year is when our people are most actively living our subsistence way of life. We’re out filling our smokehouses and freezers with salmon that will feed our communities for the rest of the year. Now is when families gather to pass down our sacred traditions and share a resource we are very lucky to have,” said Alannah Hurley, Director of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, representing 14 tribes in the Bristol Bay region. “Despite the vast majority of Bristol Bay’s opposition to mines like Pebble, disconnected and out-of-touch lawmakers in D.C. continue to prioritize Pebble’s agenda and their executives push a mine local people here and across the country don’t want.”
“Pebble Mine backers continue to get a political stage despite the science, economics and public opinion saying that the mine is too risky. The Pebble Limited Partnership has promised many times over the past decade to apply for permits that would trigger review under the National Environmental Policy Act, but they have failed to follow through on those promises. Even now, there is nothing stopping them from applying for permits and undergoing a NEPA review,” said Nelli Williams of Trout Unlimited in Anchorage. “Instead, of actually doing the work of filing a permit application, they file lawsuits and lobby Congress for senseless hearings.”
United Tribes of Bristol Bay is a tribal consortium working to protect the Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq way of life and the Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale mining. Learn more about our work at www.utbb.org
Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay is a coalition of over 100 fishing organizations and thousands of individual fishermen working to protect the 14,000 jobs, more than $500 million in annual income, and over half the world’s wild sockeye salmon provided by Bristol Bay’s 125 year sustainable fishery. Learn more at fishermenforbristolbay.org.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. In Alaska, we work with sportsmen and women to ensure the state’s trout and salmon resources remain healthy through our local chapters and offices in Anchorage and Juneau. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org and savebristolbay.org.